The long-running saga over the proposed redevelopment of Anglia Square could be nearing an end, with a decision on whether work can go ahead due "before the summer".

Alan Waters, the leader of Norwich City Council, said he was increasingly confident his authority's planning committee would soon be in a position to rule on the plan to build homes and shops on the site, after lengthy delays.

Construction firm Weston Homes lodged new proposals for the development of the shopping centre in April last year, after its previous plans were blocked two years ago by the government.

The planning committee was due to give its verdict on the updated scheme last year, but the process was held up by a ban on building new housing in large parts of the county.

Natural England imposed the halt on development because of concerns that new homes were contributing to pollution in the River Wensum and parts of the Norfolk Broads, through nutrients in wastewater produced by households.

It says work cannot start again until builders and local authorities have come up with ways to address the issue, by achieving so-called 'nutrient neutrality'.

The latest proposals are for up to 1,100 homes, plus retail and commercial space, including 14 buildings, ranging from three to eight storeys in height. 

Eastern Daily Press: Alan WatersAlan Waters (Image: Archant)

Mr Waters said: "I should be brought before the committee before summer. It’s important to get it in as soon as possible.

“It would have come for deliberation in the autumn had it not been for nutrient neutrality and there are a number of other schemes that we need to get away.

"There are developers in the city who want to get building and we want to get the housing market moving."

Mr Waters said he is fully behind the scheme, which will bring "significant investment in the city, new homes, including council homes and good jobs for local people".

He added: “I believe the sentiment in the city is that they want something done with this site.” 

Mr Waters described the plans as less grand than the previous application that was ultimately rejected by the then secretary of state, Robert Jenrick. 

A controversial 20-storey tower, which proved so divisive in the initial application, has been ditched and the amount of car parking has been reduced.